Introduced four years ago, the Altima is an ongoing success story for Nissan, filling the gap between the compact Sentra sedan and the larger Maxima. Assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee, the mid-size front-wheel drive Altima contends in the fiercely competitive family sedan market against other smaller mid-size entries such as the Ford Contour, Mercury Mystique, Mazda 626, Chryler Cirrus and Dodge Stratus--to name just a few. Positioned as "The Affordable Luxury Sedan," the Altima promises Japanese-quality construction, spry performance and a touch of cachet--all at an affordable price. The car has been a strong player for Nissan ever since its debut, and was singled out by J.D. Power in 1996 as the Best Mid-size Car Under $20,000 in terms of initial quality. Although newer designs have come along since its introduction, and a major makeover is just around the corner, this is still an appealing sedan that combines solid engineering, competent performance and value in a stylish package.